To mark National Adoption Week this week, a couple from Warwick have spoken about their experiences, hoping to inspire others after adopting two young children.
A Warwick dad who adopted two young children has opened up about how he helped them to start a new life in the hope it will inspire other couples to adopt.
Rob Langley-Swain and his husband Sam Langley-Swain adopted a seven-year-old and a four-year-old in July 2014, and to mark National Adoption Week, Rob is keen to pass on his advice to others out there who are considering the same route as them.
This year National Adoption Week runs from October 15 to October 21 and the aim behind the campaign is to help find homes for children who are in need.
Rob and Sam had always wanted children and after ten years together, they decided to begin their adoption process in January 2013 for not one, but two children.
“It is much harder to find adopters who are willing to adopt siblings as opposed to one child, and we knew we wanted to help keep a sibling group together,” said Rob.
“We did have an initial match in December 2013 but it fell through the following February – we had photos of the children and had even decorated their rooms. It was heart-breaking and we were ready to give up and walk away.”
Determined to keep going, the couple decided to visit an adoption activity day on Sam’s 30th birthday in March 2014 – where adopters can meet children in need of adoption with a view to a match – and it was there that they eventually found their children.
By July of that year their family was complete, and after an initial two weeks of visiting the children at their foster home, Rob remembers their early days together as a family in Warwick.
“I remember feeling very conscious of every action I made when welcoming them into our home for the first time,” he said.
“You’re welcoming kids that have already had negative experiences in their lives, so it’s natural to think about how they might react to things we are used to doing every day.
“That’s why myself and Sam came up with a few ideas to help them settle.
“For the first 100 days we decorated our kitchen table with toys, all of which had a different theme, which made them look forward to breakfast time. We also decided to set up a photo wall made up of all the people in our family that they were going to meet.
“This included a basket of Polaroid photos so that when certain members of the family were coming over to visit, they could hang their photos on a washing line in the hall.
“Every Christmas Eve we also give each of them an album of photos highlighting what they’ve done that year.
“All of these subtle things have helped them to settle in and if there’s one golden piece of advice I can offer, it’s to try to not worry about what could go wrong and have a positive mind-set.”
Rob is also using his job as head of marketing services at Wasps to help spread the word about National Adoption Week.
The club has agreed to offer every adoptive family in contact with Adoption Central England or Adoption UK free tickets to Wasps’ crunch Heineken European Cup clash against Bath on Saturday, October 20 (3.15pm kick-off) as well as Wasps FC Ladies’ match against Richmond Women in the Tyrrells Premier 15s (5.45pm kick-off).
Rob said: “When I mentioned this idea to Wasps everybody was on board. “Adopting a child is difficult and rewarding in equal measure, and hopefully this gesture will enable adoptive families to have a day out and create some lasting memories together.”
Adoptive families wishing to register for their tickets should visit the ACE Adoption Central England facebook page, which has further details.
Tickets for Wasps versus Bath and Wasps FC Ladies versus Richmond Women are available from www.wasps.co.uk starting from £18 for adults, while under-10s go free in certain areas.
Adoption Central England (ACE) is the regional adoption agency for Warwickshire County Council as well as Coventry City Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and Worcestershire County Council.
ACE is currently looking for families who can consider adopting children particularly over the age of three. They are also looking for families who would consider adopting siblings.
For more information about adopting children go to: https://aceadoption.com